Meet the new County Librarian

Davenport selected to head library system

By Mark Randall news@theeveningtimes.com

Debbe Davenport was looking for an ideal retirement job. Six years ago she came across a help wanted ad for a librarian at the Woolfolk Library and decided to apply. “I was looking for something to do after I retired from IBM and I love books,” Davenport said. “So this was perfect.” Davenport was recently picked to succeed Tracy Pahls as director of the county library system. The library has branches in Earle, Turrell, Gilmore, Horseshoe Lake, Crawfordsville and Edmondson. “They had other people who applied,” Davenport said. “But I thought I really had the knowledge and the skills to do this and was thrilled when they selected me.” Davenport said she is excited to lead the county library system. “Oh I love this library,” Davenport said. “And I like interacting with the other branches. This is a nice community. I think we do a really good job of meeting the needs of our patrons.” The biggest challenge is to continue to ensure that libraries remain a relevant part of the communities they serve. Libraries are much more than just a place to check out books, she said. “We have 12 computers here in Marion that are always busy with adult users and children using them to do homework after school,” Davenport said. “We have patrons who like e-books. But I think most people still like to crack the spine of a physical book.” Davenport said she scans countless journals and newspapers to make sure she keeps abreast of the newest titles — everything from John Grisham’s latest legal thriller to the newest Patricia Cornwell murder mystery. Fiction is especially popular with the readers in Marion. “It’s a lot of fun picking books,” Davenport said. “And I love seeing the people who come in and helping them find whatever they need.” Davenport said they also try to have fun events for children. They average about 30 to 40 kids during story time, and have programs like magic shows, critters, and the traveling aquarium in the summer. “We do a lot with the children,” Davenport said. “And we’re really busy in the summer.” The biggest challenge facing her now is a lack of room to grow at the Woolfolk. “We don’t have any more space,” Davenport said. Davenport said she is working with the city, county, and the library board on plans to build an expansion sometime in the future. Crittenden County pays for the library salaries and Marion pays for the building. The rest of the funding for the library comes from the millage tax. County Judge Woody Wheeless praised Davenport’s service to the library. “Debbe does a good job,” Wheeless said. “She’s worked for the library system for a number of years. We’re grateful to have her.”

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